A wolf can bark when it feels endangered or threatened, or when it tries to defend its territory against aggressors.
A wolf’s barking sounds are slightly different than a dog’s barking sound, though. It’s also used for different means whether it’s to scare the attackers away from their territory, or if a wolf mother wants to warn its pups of potential danger. More commonly, it is used by puppies and is considered by some researchers to be juvenile behavior.
There are also three different types of sounds that wolves make: howling (the most common), whimpering, and growling. You’ve probably already heard a dog’s bark, and it’s meant to greet strangers or to “warn” their owners about strangers nearby. A wolf’s bark is slightly different, and the barking is used in different ways, too.
Can Wolves Bark? – All You Need to Know
1. How Does a Wolf Bark?
A wolf barks much quicker than a dog and it also uses a slightly lower pitch, especially the male wolf. Here’s how a wolf bark sounds like:
It’s fair to say that a wolf’s barking is much different from a dog’s bark. That’s why many people believe that wolves don’t bark, although that’s not true. They just bark differently than domestic dogs, and on very different occasions.
As you may see, a wolf’s bark sounds much closer like a howl rather than a pure bark that you’d hear from a dog. A defensive howl and a bark can sometimes even be combined to help them keep strangers away or to protect themselves against other aggressors.
2. When Does a Wolf Bark?
A wolf barks when it feels threatened or endangered, and it’s used as an alarm signal. A mother wolf will also use barking to protect their puppies and warn them about potential threats, while puppies will often bark as they still haven’t learned how to howl properly.
It’s also common to hear different sounds mixed together, such as growl-barking. This sound is very common when wolves gather in groups and they start barking or growling at the same time.
A wolf uses different sounds to communicate with other wolves. Barking is one of them, although not very common. Howling, growling, and whimpering are much more common for “talking” to other wolves.
So it’s fair to say that a wolf’s bark sounds much different than that of your dog. They still have the physical capability to bark, but you won’t hear this sound very often from wolves.
Because they use other communication means that will help them achieve the same goals that barking does for dogs. It’s mainly used when a wolf feels threatened, which doesn’t happen very often. Instead, growling is more often used to deter other wolves away and show aggression, or to establish dominance in a territory against other animals.
3. What Other Sounds Does a Wolf Use to Communicate?
A wolf will use three different sounds other than barking to communicate with other wolves:
- Howling – this is by far the most common sound we normally associate with wolves. Most commonly, wolves use howling to locate each other and to connect with each other socially, so that they are aware of their locations. A defensive howl is used when a wolf feels threatened and is trying to keep other animals away.
- Growling – it’s the aggressive sound that a wolf makes against another wolf or aggressive animal that is trying to put up a fight against it. This type of growling is also commonly heard with dogs, too, although a wolf’s growl is much fiercer.
- Whimpering – submissive whimpering is normally a sign of one wolf getting dominated by the other. It may be used when one wolf dominates another and the dominated wolf is trying to say “I give up”. Whimpering is also used by wolf mothers when they are trying to take care of their puppies.
Non-verbal communication is also extremely important for wolves. They will leave all sorts of cues around their territory to either establish their dominance or to let their feelings be known to the rest of the pack. They use the following non-verbal cues:
- Body language – the body language of a wolf can tell you a lot about its state. They’ll stick their ears out if they’re angry, and they’ll enter a defensive pose when they feel threatened or attacked.
- Urinating – it’s a common theme for wolves to urinate in their territory in order to mark it, which is meant to keep other males and aggressors away. They also have strong scents which allow them to make sure they’re able to spot other animals from miles away.
- Scent – Scent is by far the most powerful sense of the wolf, as it uses it to find food, mates, and other animals in the territory.
4. Why Do Dogs Bark and Wolves Don’t?
Dogs will use barking as one of their primary vocalization tools, which enables them to communicate with the world and convey their feelings. Wolves, on the other hand, will use other communication means to do the same – primarily howling and growling.
Technically, a wolf can still bark but won’t use it nearly as often as a domestic dog would. A dog would bark when it’s happy, when it’s feeling playful, and when it’s endangered or even aggressive.
A wolf will only use barking as an alarm sound and it’s often combined with other sounds such as growling and barking. Mother nature has shaped them in such a way that they will use other means of communication instead.
A wolf can bark, but you’re unlikely to hear one barking in the traditional sense of the word that we normally associate with dogs. Instead, wolves use other means of communication such as howling and growling, as well as non-verbal cues to talk to each other and to other animals.
It’s still possible that you might hear a wolf bark, though. It sounds very different from a dog’s bark and is only used as an alarm signal.